APA Policy

The School of Nursing uses the American Psychological Association (APA) Publication Manual, latest edition, for rules of style, citation, and referencing for all formal, scholarly writing.

All faculty are expected to be familiar with APA format, and courses are expected to require the use of APA in all formal papers. Faculty at all levels are expected to be able to assist students in improving their writing and mastery of APA guidelines.

Students are introduced to the use of APA in the scholarly writing course. Learning to use the rules of APA on matters of writing style, organization, formatting, mechanics, table building, and finally, referencing and citation, takes time and ongoing reinforcement. To accomplish this, courses need to expand on the APA content provided in the scholarly writing course, continuously reinforce the use of APA, and provide opportunities for students to practice the craft of scholarly writing. Students need meaningful feedback on their writing and be held to expectations for submitting corrections and revisions.

Best practices:

– Students should be provided with opportunities to revise and resubmit papers following initial faculty feedback.

– Faculty should not make corrections and revisions for the students. Rather, faculty should name the errors (e.g., incorrect word choice, spelling, sentence structure, subject-verb agreement, punctuation, use of vague references, wordiness, in-text citation errors, reference list errors, table formatting, use of jargon, effectiveness of arguments, inclusion of evidence, quality of the evidence cited, etc, etc), point out examples of each type of error, point out the applicable sections of the APA manual, provide examples of corrections, and instruct the student to make necessary corrections.

– Examples of excellent writing should be made available to the students.

– Students who need further assistance should be referred to the PLU writing center.

– When final versions are submitted, if significant improvements are not seen, the faculty member may either not accept the paper or grade the paper accordingly.

APA content and practice are to be built into the courses in a scaffolded manner across the curriculum, with the goal that upon completion of each degree program, students will have mastered the craft of writing according to APA at each of the respective degree levels. Writing will be concise, clear, well organized, grammatically and stylistically correct, and references/ citations will be correctly formatted. Consistency in the use and reinforcement of APA rules, style, and format is key to students’ mastery of these skills.